Repurposing an old Android phone as a cycling computer is a resourceful and innovative way to make use of technology that might otherwise be chucked away. Here’s how you can easily transform an old Android phone into a cycling computer.
Steps to Convert an Old Android Phone into a Cycling Computer
Phone Features – Make sure the old Android phone remains functional, especially its GPS and screen, and its battery life is reasonably good. Having a phone with water-resistant or waterproof capabilities would be ideal, but this feature is not commonly found in most older Android phones.
Cycling Apps – There are plenty of cycling apps available on the Google Play Store. I personally use Komoot and Bike Tracker, but many other apps offer features such as speed tracking, route mapping, distance and much more.
Phone Mount – Purchase a mount to attach the old Android phone to your bike securely. I use one of the universal bicycle phone mounts. Which are easy to attach to a bike and hold the phone securely in place
Battery – Often, the battery in old smartphones doesn’t last long. Consider carrying a portable charger. Some apps also have battery-saving modes.
It is also probably worth turning off features that you don’t use while riding, like WiFi and Bluetooth.
Offline Maps – If you’re using an old phone with no SIM and so won’t have mobile data, then download maps for offline use.
Benefits of Using an Old Android Phone as a Cycling Computer
- Cost Effective – Using an old phone negates buying a specialised cycling computer.
- App Features – Modern cycling apps offer many features that rival dedicated cycling computers.
- Environmentally Friendly – Repurposing your old phone is an environmentally-friendly alternative to buying new dedicated cycling computer hardware.
Fun Fact: According to the WEEE forum, mIn 2022 it was estimated that 5.2 billion mobile phones were chucked away
- Music \ Audio – As well as a cycling computer, I use the phone to play music. I recommend using bone-conduction headphones when cycling, which allow you to be more aware of your surroundings.
- Damage – If you fall off your bike or the phone drops and gets damaged, it doesn’t matter so much…….. at least not as much as if it was your normal everyday phone.
- Battery Life – Older phones might not hold a charge as long as a dedicated cycling computer.
- Durability – An old phone is generally not weather-resistant or rugged as a purpose-built cycling computer.
- Size and Weight – Phones are generally bulkier and heavier than dedicated cycling computers.
- Display – Most older phones have reflective displays, so it can be hard to see the screen on a bright sunny day. The only things that might help are to turn the brightness and contrast to high and increase the font size to large.
Conclusion: Andriod Phone As Cycling Computer
Repurposing an old Android phone as a cycling computer can be a cost-effective and functional solution for many cyclists. By leveraging the device’s built-in features and installing cycling apps, riders can access data such as speed, distance, and route mapping.
Additionally, the phone’s connectivity options can enable riders to pair it with sensors like heart rate monitors and cadence sensors, further enhancing the data collection capabilities.
Converting an old Android phone into a cycling computer is a great way to recycle technology and enhance your cycling experience.
FAQ: Old Android Phone As Cycling Computer
Does my phone need a SIM card to work as a cycling computer?
No, a SIM card is not required. The cycling app(s) and offline maps can be downloaded to your phone using WiFi. Most of the features (all?) that are available on cycling apps rely on GPS and do not require a SIM card for the internet.
Can I still use the phone for music or calls while cycling?
Yes, music and phone calls will work, even when the cycling app is open. From a safety perspective, listening to music and taking phone calls might not be the best thing to do. If you must listen to music or take phone calls, consider investing in some bone conduction headphones.
How can I make my Android phone water-resistant?
Some cases on Amazon can be used to protect your Android phone from water. These cases are generally bulky or are basically posh plastic bags. Neither of which are ideal for when using a Androd phone a cycling computer.
There are water-repelling sprays that might work in giving your phone a degree of water resistance. It’s not something I’ve tried, so I would be interested to hear in the comments if you have and how effective it was